The Translation Process

Bonjour, readers!

Well, the semester as we knew it has come and gone, poof! But, before we all scurry off to winter break lets do one more blog post, shall we? 

In this chaotic, unbelievably persevering, and ironically rewarding semester, one class taught that not all forms of literature are successfully translated from their country’s language of origin. 

In this course, Literary Genres in Translation, at California State University Channel Islands the students were able to get a grasp on how different writers around the world wrote, and how their environments influenced their own writing styles.

What does that mean? 

Well, during this semester literature had been examined, analyzed and gutted from various writers around the globe.  However, instead of reading the texts in the language of origin the students read the translated versions of these same texts. 

However, in studying these texts, the texts were rather faulty in not being translated in the correct way.  To successfully translate a text proves more difficult because the translator is not only translating the physical text, but has to put into consideration the elements and forms that particular culture represents. 

For example, a novel titled, Signs Preceding the End of the World, was written by a hispanic author, Yuri Herrera and translated by an english speaking editor, Lisa Dillman. 

When translating the original text to english there are several words and phrases that do not transfer over easily to English.  In sum, the original text loses meaning when translated.

After taking this course, one can learn how effective the  power of translation plays in literature and how a simple adjustment in the words can change the whole dynamic of the story for good or for bad.

Nonetheless, when it comes down to story telling, the plot, theme and settings all remain the same.  So, in retrospect, when translating a text, it is important to fully understand the author’s culture, heritage and upbringing. 

That’s all for now, have fun and be safe,  Winter is Coming! 

Au revoir


Taking Our Women For Granted

Greetings Readers,

Throughout the centuries man has been the pinnacle of humanity, the bread winner, the head of the household if you will.  With this, men have all the power, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

In today’s society it seems like the hold of power has started to shift from men holding all the positions of power, to women leading more companies, are more successful in the job forceart, and are now surpassing men in film, cinema, and music.  However, a dark shadow looms over women that seem to plague the moral mind set of men, sexual misconduct.

In Roland Rugero’s, Baho (2016) a novel, the men are portrayed to be rich in power of their tribes.  However, women are a different case.  In the novel, women are portrayed as objects of desire, rather actual human being with real emotions.  They are more like property to be claimed. 


Above, cover of Roland Rugero’s, Baho (2016)

Rugero’s novel could not have arrived at a more perfect time for the novel itself coincides with all the sexual misconduct allegations surfacing throughout the recent months in the film industry and most importantly, politics. 

In most, to almost all of these cases, the center of the sexual misconduct actions are brought on by men of power, such as presidents or CEO’s of major corporations, producers or directors of television or cinema, heck even our own President of the United States with his infamous “Locker Room talk”.   

What is it about power that drives men to think that they can do whatever they please?  In Rugero’s novel, Baho, the men are quick to damn the rapist, the protagonist of the story, The Mute.  However, the same men doing the condemning were just as guilty as The Mute.  If that not calling the kettle black then I don’t know what is. 

All in all, Rugero’s novel is the perfect representation of the society for which is now reality.  It is sad to see that women are still being treated in such a disgusting manner.  It is time to take a stand, the time to act is now.

All Aboard! Next Stop, Tram 83!


Above, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, author of Tram 83

Fueled by high intensity, unforeseen cliffhangers, sensational satire, and perilous adventures, Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s, Tram 83 gripped the reader and never let go. 

Mujila’s impacting tome is filled with wayward characters all ranging from devious villains, treacherous beauties, unreliable friends, and unlikely heroes, all meshed together by one common space, a jazzed up night club by the name of Tram 83.

Throughout the novel, there was multiple phrases that seemed to repeated over and over again.  One of these phrases that kept reoccurring was the phrase,

“Do you have the time?” 

At first this phrase rendered as a common question one might ask in order to acquire the hour in the day, but in Tram 83 the phrase, “Do you have the time?” took on a whole different meaning all together.

The phrase “Do you have the time?” was asked by the “prostitutes” of the novel.  They simply wanted to know if their customer had the time to tumble between the sheets.  Sure, such a question seems simple and innocent at first, but give it an alternate motive then the whole phrase has an entirely different concept. 

Speaking of concept, lets take a look at the concept of time.  Time seemed to be one of many themes that wrapped Mujila’s novel together.   The phrases throughout the novel seemed to throw the novel in a sort of rhyme, and rhyme needs great timing.  Just like jazz pieces, rhyme and timing are everything. 


Above, Fiston Mwanza Mujila accepting Nigeria’s Etisalat Prize in 2015

Not only does the novel itself have some sense of pace or rhyme so does it characters and the elements surrounding the novel itself. Lucien, the main protagonist in this story, happens to be a writer, is on a constant go, desperately trying to get published. 

However, Lucien’s counterpart, Requiem, possibly the main antagonist and foil to Lucien’s character, is always on the move as well.

Unlike Lucien, Requiem is only interested in vices such as: robbery, engaging with prostitutes, and destroying any chance for Lucien to be successful in his writing career.   

For one, the title of the book is called, Tram 83, Tram resonates to locomotives and locomotives need timing and rhyme to operate.  One also needs time in order to catch the train before it departs.

So, the phrase, “Do you have the time” comes full-circle by not just being a phrase, but a way of life for the characters, and a central theme for this novel.   

Is Uncle Sam Worth the Price?

Viva La Revolucion

artist: Shepard Fairey

Enticed, driven, and emotionally engaged; these are only a handle of emotions felt when one reads Yuri Herrera’s, Signs Preceding The End Of The World.

Herrera’s action packed novel revolves around a young hispanic woman, Makina, and her travel, trials, and tribulations as she attempts to cross the border from Mexico to the United States in search for her younger brother, whom seems to be nameless throughout the novel.

Through her travels, Makina is faced with life and death situations on a constant basis.  What makes this novel  more surreal is the fact that this character’s journey is actually someone else’s reality, someone whom actually has lived this life and crossed over in search for a better life.

But, is crossing the border illegally worth all the risk?  First of all, those who are crossing from Mexico to America are faced with multiple obstacles. When crossing one has to consider the elements and nature, for it is easy to lose ones’s life when they are overly exposed to the severe cold of desert nights. 

Secondly, the United States borders are guarded by men, whom are well trained and well armed with their fingers ready on the trigger, eager to slug any poor bastard they come across. 

Third, there are people who act as “safe passage” to the other side of the border for a handsome fee; however, those people might not be whom they seem to be.  Sure those people, or better yet, “Coyotes”, people who smuggle people across the border for money, end up turning their backs on the people they swore to help leaving them out to dry. 

Either way, to cross the border is to put one’s life at risk.  Makina understands the risk and yet still decides to go through with her plan to cross.  It is hard to make out if she feels fear or not, but I am sure her adrenaline starts pumping when its fight or flight time.  To Makina, she is rolling the dice, and crapping out is not an option. 

Would you put your life on the table?


Paradise? Or prison?

Whoever said, “too much of a good thing is bad” was probably right.

In a post-petrolicious world, where savagery, and survival of the fittest reign, Ahmed Khaled Towfik’s gruesome and vivid novel, “Utopia” intwines on the mind and does not let go.

The novel itself switches between two narratives.  The first narrator is a teenage boy who lives in the privileged and protected society.  The second, “the other” lives in a society outside this “Utopia”, left outside looking in.

In the first several chapter the narrator discusses the life he and others like him lead.  Judging by the way the narrator is described the world he lived, where he can have sex with any one he wants, takes drugs, eats, sleeps and repeats and not have to worry about anything sounded like a pretty good life to live.  However, the tone in which the narrator spoke when he described his society comes off as bored, or unappreciative of the luxuries he had in his disposal.

Egypt is known for their culture and traditions, yet the way the narrator described Utopia seems that this futuristic Egyptian society has thrown all that in the trash for the youth of Utopia have little to no regards towards authority.

Utopia is a paradise where crimes go unpunished, and morals and respect get put on the back burner.  But what happens when those walls of the perfect world come tumbling down?  Chaos.

Utopia’s way of life is a disease,  The idea of this false sense of security poisons the mind, causing the youth of Utopia to retrograde to a prehistoric life style of savagery and primal instincts.  A Utopia where the youth are so drugged up that only death interests them.  Yes, the narrator painted a perfect culture, a society where the woes and worries of the world can not reach, and yet, the yet narrator had not found solace.

Theoretically, this “Utopia” is not a paradise, it is a prison, a prison that keeps it’s citizens drugged, fed, happy, and entertained so they don’t see what the government is doing behind closed doors. A Utopia where it’s citizens are shrouded from the truth.

Sound familiar?